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tv   Quadriga - The International Talk Show  LINKTV  November 20, 2015 9:00am-9:31am PST

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annenberg media ♪ captioning sponsored by annenberg/cpb narrator: though north america is known for its abundant natural resources,
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intense development often strains the balance. here in northeast oregon is a story about conflicting claims on water resources. we'll learn how center-pivot agriculture makes the desert bloom, how hydroelectricity fuels rapid industrial development, and how formal regions characterize the resulting human patterns. not long ago, millions of salmon returned each year to spawn in the columbia river. native americans here once depended on the fish for their survival. now their nets are often empty: the salmon have almost vanished. forming a natural border between oregon and washington state,
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the columbia rivernd its branches provide precious water for the people and wildlife along its path. this is the story of one columbia tributary: the effort to restore salmon here on the umatilla river in northeast oren. hocageography explain competition over a scarce resource? in the early 1990s, dianiolikeallbegaanmbitiousroje here in the mountains there is plenty of water, but human activity left the river uniformly shallow like this-- good for minnows, but not for salmon. by piling up rocks like this, the tribes created deeper pools. hall: and now we have some depth and some cover for the adult salmon. well, we know we've got a couple of hundred up in this system. narrator: so some fish have returned. the problem is the way they now travel here from the ocean.
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the fish have to be trapped and driven in trucks from locations downstream. here is where they are trapped, there is sufficient water here. and here, near the reservation, is where they breed. again there is enough water for the salmon. the problem is here, in the river's midsection. the fish, and even the water here, have all but disappeared. in the nearly dry riverbed, tribe member roberta joy wilson now walks where the salmon once swam. wilson: the rivers are the lifeblood of the land, and slowly that's being drained away. it's just a real devastation to our way of life. narrator: so where did the water go? this dam provides a clue.
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now, as water flows down the umatilla, instead of continuing along its original course, the dam diverts it into this canal. the canal flows west to dozens of places subsidized by the government. they are best seen in a satellite photograph-- hundreds of circular, irrigated fields in the lower umatilla valley. one of these farms is owned by chet pryor. decades ago, the government provided water to farmers like pryor, hoping to stimulate economic development in this region. it has been a great success. with center-pivot irrigation, pryor grows carrots, wheat, alfalfa and potatoes. this is the russet burbank variety that we use for the french fry industry here. the reason we use this variety is because it's ideally suited variety,
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along with our growing conditions, to meet the high standards that the french fry industry demands now, not only for our domestic market, but also for our export market. narrator: pryor grows over 15,000 tons of potatoes a year. most of them are brought here to the simplot company, where they are processed before shipment to mcdonald's. in one year, the umatilla valley produces almost $100 million worth of agricultural crops. but the salmon are also a valuable resource here. why isn't there enough water for both? ( wind roaring ) narrator: below the reservation, the umatilla river flows through a near desert. the natural vegetation is sagebrush and scrub. the lack of water plagues and even defines the western mountains region. t in severalces he,wi lots of f,
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farmers have made the desert bloom. their success has come at the expense of the indians and the salmon. water has become a very, very valuable commodity, but the place that it's most valuable is right where it should be, and that's in the river itself. narrator: below the farms, unused irrigation water eventually flows back into the umatilla, which explains why there is enough water downstream. but here in the river's midsection, two different ways of life compete over a scarce resource. the farmers' water rights go back to the 1920s, when the government funded irrigation canals like this. but the tribes' water and fishing rights are based on 150-year-old treaties that include these historic locations on the columbia. armed with the senior water rights and a desperate desire to restore umatilla salmon,
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the indians threaten legal action. if they want, they could destroy the farm economy here. pryor: without water in this area, we virtually have no way to raise any kind of a crop that we're producing now, except dryland wheat, which is not really viable in this area. its not that we will not litigate, its just that we want to try to work it out first. but if we have to litigate, then we will litigate. to say the least, these negotiations have been li the wor's largest roller cster-- there's huge ups and huge downs, and even upside-down loops right now i would say that we're in one of those ds therand the negotiions haveowns, and evbasically broken off. narrator: as long as the tribes and the farmers both fight there is little hope ov thfor compromise. the mutual solution is to find a different source of water.
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eventually they find it here in the columbia river. but it is miles away and lower in elevation. how would they get the water to the farms? with both sides yearning for a settlement, the feuding locals unite to lobby the u.s. congress. the result: $50 million federal taxpayer dollars completes a major engineering project in 1999. the plant pumps the water up the hills through a 5½-foot pipe, dumping it into this pool near the irrigation districts. from here it flows by gravity these canals and feeds the farms in three of the four irrigation districts. now more umatilla water stays in the river year round. fish bred in hatcheries upstream have returned to a river with much more water. these spring-run salmon are channeled into a special fish elevator and lifted up here where technicians count, measure
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and learn the sex of the fish. then, most of them pass out the pipes to continue up the river. the tribes are cautiously celebrating their initial success. we began releasing salmon in the early '80s, and i remember our first return of 13 fish; we were elated with the spring chinook run. here in 2000 today we're celebrating a salmon return to the umatilla basin. this year we'll probably have 5,000 spring chinook salmon returning. narrator: while the proscts for salmon have improved on the umatilla, the fish are even more endangered on the larger columbia. the biggest problems are the dams themselves. there was an organized movement to actually tear some of the dams down. the western energy crisis got even worse in 2001, making hydroelectric power even more essential. these issues will have to be resolved
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through the political process, and a spatial perspective is key to understanding the past and the future. most of the electrical power comes from dams on the columbia and snake rivers in the western mountains. but the transmission lines lead to the consumers of electricity in another region, and they reveal the location of political and economic power. this is where many decisions about water use will be made. these are the growing urban centers nearorand and seattle. the cities lie in a region geographers call the pacific coast, and the difference from the western mountains is dramatic: population density; the location of major manufacturing. but why are these features so unevenly distributed? the area's physical geography is revealed at a different scale. the pacific coast receives plenty of rain and snow.
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asoistoveshe pacific ocea, the cascade mountains force it higher. as it rises, the air cools and condenses most heavily in areas shown in dark blue. the east is left in an arid rain shadow. this is where geographers draw the boundary of the western mountains. it's a line we should etch in our mental maps. on one side, the growing population along the pacific coast has become more protective of its lush, natural environment, including the salmon. now, as more nets come up empty, commercial fishermen and environmentalists on the coast have formed an unlikely alliance with the indians of the western mountains. however, the demand for energy by growing populations, coupled with increased environmental awareness, will force people in both regions to face some hard choices over a scarce resource.
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this area's demography and physical geography ha both beenpe by the cascade mountains' persistent rain shadow. formalegions reflect the human and physical geography of an area. but it is important to remember that regional characterizations are approximations, and over time they are subject to change. next we travel to the midwestern section of the u.s. an influx of japanese automakers here s transformed the ry nature of automobile manucturing. we will examine the trade-offs between detroit's old mass-production system and toyota's famous lean production, and how relative location drives site selection for new facilities. the spread of japanese production methods into the north american heartland is a striking example of geographic diffusion.
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for most of the 20th century, automobile makers pledged allegiance to the mass-production system originated by henry ford. the main idea was to drive down the per-unit cost of production. and for decades, mass production delivered what american consumers wanted. newsreel narrator: the bold, massive grill of this mercury monterey station wagon. the bold, massive taillights of this roomy mercury monterey sedan. narrator: by the 1960s, north america's place atop the automobile manufacturing world seemed unassailable, but just around the bend waited an unimagined challenge. in the 1970s, sales of japanese cars in the north american market soared, american automaker's profits disappeared, and the red ink forced massive layoffs and plant closings. but a geographer's review of the auto industry's struggles reveals a surprising insight
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into the state of making cars in north america. in recent decades, global competition and the japanese auto manufacturers have had a tremendous impact on the industrial landscape of the american midwest. dr. james rubenstein is an economic geographer at miami unirsity in ohio. for the past ten years, he's been tracking the spread of japanese automobile production techniques. rubenstein: one of the results of having a global production system now in the auto industry-- a handful of producers working around the world-- is a diffusion of the technology from one area to another. the principal direction of diffusion has been from japan to north america, particularly in the 1980s and still continuing in the 1990s. narrator: japanese automakers owe their lasting success not to good gas mileage,
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but to a revolutionary manufacturing technology, the toyota production system, also known as "lean production." it developed in part out of the necessities of the japanese industry. the japanese industry had been devastated by world war ii. consumer demand was very small in that country, and the only way that a manufacturer was going to survive was by making small batches, being as flexible as possible, cutting overhead costs down to the bare bones. narrator: lean production combined teamwork, bottom-up engineering, worker involvement, just-in-time production and a philosophy of continuous improvement all to great advantage. but the biggest bonus of lean production was quality. japanese cars worked better and broke down less than american cars, and american car buyers loved that.
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( crowd cheering ) american car builders had a somewhat different emotional reaction. rubenstein: through the 1980s even, the big three believed that-- genuinely, deep in their hearts believed-- that the japanese system was an aberration, and it had to do with a bunch of american consumers being unpatriotic. man ( over loudspeaker ): ladies and gentleman, here it comes: the first automobile produced at honda of america manufacturing, inc. in marysville, ohio. narrator: nevertheless, market forces pushed for change, and in 1982, japanese-style lean production was literally transplanted into north america... man ( over loudspeaker ): "usa-0-0-1, ohio." narrator: ...when honda opened a plant in marysville, ohio, in the heart of the american midwest. but why here? if you draw a one-day radius around the midwest, say approximately a 500-mile radius, you've hit nearly the entire u.s. population.
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so if you have one plant, your market is the whole country and canada, and your critical geographic factor is minimizing shipping around the united states and canada, you want to be in the midwest. narrator: and so when in short order the rest of the japanese car makers drove for american soil, nissan landed in tennessee, mazda in michigan, mitsubishi in illinois, subaru and isuzu in indiana, and finally... toyota, the number one japanese car maker, picked kentucky. so here they are. the ls,gh grices were a fadiny and the japanese automakers longer the e weayen. the ls,gh grices were a fadiny but here in the kentucky and the jacountryside,akers the toyota production system was outperforming traditional mass production. toyota's quality is here, everybody else is a notch below them.
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narrator: and by the 1990s, the big three-- gm, ford and chrysler-- were paying more and more attention. toyota, for their part, put lean production on display, inviting the competition, or anyone else for that matter, toakur othistuckctfo at toyota's recipe for quity anproductivity. onaspectof lean oductions j.i.t, or "just-in-time" production. -itime is a production controsystem that takes its cues nofrom a manager, but from the workers at the end of the line-- the point of final assembly. how it works. tch carefuy-- itpens pretty quickly. we'll follow the production cycle of toyota's handy, center console cup holder.
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dan, our cup-holder installer, s about 50 seconds to assemble and install his console units. he also tracks and reorders all the parts he needs. here's how. when dan empties one container of gray, brushed-finished cup holders, a fu containerdrops int, and dan pulls its kanban, a card that's kind of a circuling order, tnle within minutesthe kanbans from dan neighborhood are picked up by shirley... who bikes them back to ed for sorting. ed gives them to jim, the truck driver, who trucks them 30 miles and delivers them to mary at summit polymers, an american parts supplier for toyota. mary puts e kanban in an empty box at the work station so gail knows that she needs to build 24 gray, brushed-finished cup holders.
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this made-to-order cup holder will be packed, delivered, and installed in a new toyota within aboutight hours. no computersap noiddle magers anno idle inventory,ew toyota withno wasted space.rs. lean production is new here at summit polymers, and to help work out the kinks, toyota lends support through the toyota system support corporation. mr. ohba is the managing director. ohba: narrator: toyota offers free consulting service
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to companies who want to adapt the toyota production system. 35 companies, several outside the auto industry, are currently enrolled. mr. ohba has been consulting with summit for six months now. to make -in-timea littasi, summit opened this new factory near the toyota assembly plant. but the transition from ss production to an production es far deeper than site location. let's look at a traditional mass-production assembly line. big stocks of inventory assure that the line can stay running. just-in-time saves all this space, but there's a hidden benefit that's even more important. in mass production, a batch of marginally bad parts can work its way into the system, and by the time it's discovered, thousands of identically bad parts are waiting for installation. then, either all the parts are scrapped, or rather than shut down the line to fix the problem,
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the parts get jammed into cars, many of which don't pass inspection and wind up in an area called "reprocess." at any one time, we could have as many as up to 2,000 carsther. well... when i went to japan for the first time with toyota, i was walking through one of their plants, and one thing i noticed was the absence of space. and i asked my guides, i said, "what about your reprocess area? what happens when you have to fix something?" and they... they talked to each other in japanese for a little bit and then said, "bill-san we have reprocess area for maybe 40 vehicles." and with all my vast knowledge, i told them that, well, they immediately... if they were going to build cars here, ey immediatelyd to up that to 2, because that's the standard. narrator: as just-in-time manufacturing is reshaping the factory floor, at a much larger scale it is changing the geography
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of automotive-parts supply networks. it's no accident that many of the parts in these toyotas are manufactured close to this assembly plant just-in-time puts a premium of the pon proximity. toyotas new auto assembly plants like this meanuge contracts nefaors for hundds of american maetselectiohere athe austin co. as makers don schjeldahl is a geographer and specialist in location theory. geography is this great sort of synthesizing field. it includes economics, transportation, information about the physical landscape, about the human and cultural landscape-- and a plant, a production plant or a manufacturing facility needs to consider all of those factors
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because they all play into the success of that facility. narrator: but the first factor for parts suppliers is usually travel time. schjeldahl: the assembly plant is at the center of a circle, and that circle is travel time, and that typically would be one to two hours by truck. narrator: and so parts makers have settled along two major highways known as the "kanban highways" close to the assembly plants they service. and the success of these made-in-america japanese cars has pushed america's big three-- gm, ford and chrysler-- to embrace lean production. rubenstein: the big three in the 1990s have found religion, if you will. so there's a diffusion of ideas. so it's two different kinds of diffusion: it's the relocation from japan to america of production and of methods, and then there is the diffusion of the ideas
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into the american automakers. narrator: the american car makers adopted enough of the lean production philosophy to improve their quality to the point that it satisfied the consumer and improved their bottom line. but every manufacturing system has strengths and weaknesses. at the turn of the 21st century, a curious aspect of lean production came to light. rubenstein: the japanese companies found a fatal flaw in lean production and that is lean production meant lean profits, and as a result of that, during the 1990s, gm and ford, in particular, were pulling in higher profits than the japanese companies. several of the smaller japanese companies had difficulty really surviving then. narrator: by 2002, of the original 11 japanese auto companies, nine had been taken over by the likes of gm, ford and daimler-benz. only honda and toyota remained
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as independent companies under japanese management. the problem: lean production's continuous improvement led to too much quality, and that means that they were building in a level of quality that consumers were not willing to pay for. something had to be done. rubenstein: they started taking quality out of the cars, not in the ways that consumers would notice, but they took some of the nuts and bolts, some of the bits and pieces that they were doing that consumers didn't see and they were removing them from the cars. one example of the changes that have been made: toyota was painting the inside of the bumper, the bits the consumers wouldn't see unless the bumper fell off in a serious accident, in which case they've got bigger problems. but there really was no reason to paint the inside of the bumper, and so now only the outside of the bumper would be painted, and that saves a lot of money. narrator: as a result of their adaptability, profits are rising again at toyota and honda.
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rubenstein: the goal of lean production has always been improving quality; the goal of mass production has always been to reduce costs; and as a result, what we have now into the 21st century is called "optimal lean production," which is an attempt to combine the efficiency of mass production with an acceptable level of quality from lean production. naator: we'vseen how lean production emphasizes relative location and affects site selection for auto-part suppliers like summit polymers. over the course of decades, entire manufacturing systems like lean production can spread, traverse boundaries and adapt to changing conditions. in the end, it's a good reminder that more often than not, diffusion is a two-way street.
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captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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